Kerala

Key accused in ₹8 crore Canara Bank fraud lands in police custody

The accused, identified as Vijeesh Varghese (36) of Avaneeswaram in Pathanamapuram, was nabbed from a hideout in Bengaluru. (image for representational purposes)   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

 

After a search operation lasting over three months, the key accused in the ₹8 crore bank scam in Pathanamthitta in Kerala has finally landed in police custody.

Official sources said the accused, identified as Vijeesh Varghese (36) of Avaneeswaram in Pathanamapuram, was nabbed from a hideout in Bengaluru. The police team, which nabbed the accused, is expected to bring him back to Pathanamthittta by Monday afternoon.

He had gone into hiding along with his family members even since the fraud came to light in February this year.

The accused, an ex-navy official who had worked as a clerk in Branch 2 of Canara Bank in Pathanamthitta, allegedly used the system passwords to close the fixed deposit accounts of a few customers and transfer the amount to the accounts of his wife and other relatives. The case followed a complaint lodged by the bank management on February 14.

By the time the fraud came to light, the accused had already escaped with his wife and two kids, and the police later traced his car to an apartment complex in Kochi city.

Trust gained

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused, with his pleasant demeanour and efficient performance, easily gained the trust of his fellow employees and the customers.

“No one had any doubts about him till he closed the FD account of a customer, who happened to be the wife of one of his fellow employees in another branch, on February 11. As soon as the fraud came to notice, the employee concerned alerted the senior officials and a follow-up examination brought the fraud to light,” said an official.

Based on the finding, five employees of the bank, including the branch manager, were immediately placed under suspension. The investigation, however, is yet to confirm the involvement of any other person in the fraud other than that of Mr. Varghese.

The police had taken steps to freeze the bank accounts of the accused and his relatives. A detailed investigation later revealed that the accused swindled a total of ₹8.13 crore in 191 transactions over a period of 14 months.

The probe is now slated to be handed over to the Crime Branch unit.


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 3:16:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/key-accused-in-8-crore-canara-bank-fraud-lands-in-police-custody/article34576662.ece

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